Beer at the Games?


Every passage of the Bible that comments on intoxicating drink teaches that we should not drink it, with the exception of the drink for medical purposes. ((See Wayne Jackson, “Does the Bible Recommend Drinking Alcoholic Beverages?,” Christian Courier, (2013); ibid., “What About Moderate Social Drinking?,” Christian Courier, (2013).))  When I was nine years old, my family moved to Jasper, Alabama, the county seat of Walker County, which had been a dry county for many years. While we lived there, the county passed a referendum to allow alcohol sales. During the days leading up to the referendum, many folks from all kinds of churches urged people to vote “No.” I remember seeing my dad in television spots reminding people of what the Bible says about drinking and cautioning them about the negative consequences that would come along with increased drinking in Walker County.

Despite all the money that is to be made from beer sales, and despite our culture’s carelessness about spirituality, intoxicating drink is such a devastating problem that occasionally, a secular source (other than the police reports of needless deaths and injuries) illustrates why God’s way is best. Colin Cowherd is a sports talk radio host for ESPN. In a recent show, he said this:

[The NFL is] going to have to figure it out. . . . [T]he in-stadium experience. Football is so good on television, especially pro football. What’s the point of going to the stadium? Combine that with the vulgarity and the drunks. College football’s got a lot of students. Students are happy. . . . NFL stadiums are full of angry guys who hate their job getting absolutely smoked with 13 Heinekens, because they hate going back to work Monday. And they get in fights, and they’re, you know, they do what they do. It’s amazing. So this past weekend I went to a college game in Seattle, and there was no drinking. And I went to the bathroom in the fourth quarter, and it was absolutely clean. And I came out and I told a buddy, “That’s what happens when there’s no alcohol. No fights, no vulgarity, no alcohol.” And I said this: I can’t figure out for the life of me why the NFL doesn’t see alcohol sales in stadiums as a huge liability; allowing 70 thousand people to pour onto the streets, get in their cars and drive home in major cities, half of them bombed. Secondly, I’d rather stay home than deal with drunks and fights. I can’t take my kids to a game anymore. . . . Who wants to deal with vulgarity and fistfights? … I am traumatized going into an NFL bathroom during a game. Seriously. . . . College game, no drinking, you go to the bathroom, what do you know? No vomit. ((“The Thundering Herd: 9/5,” podcast, ESPN, (2013))

Cowherd is not a Christian and does not oppose drinking in general. Still, he has given us a reminder (and such reminders are all around us) that if people followed God’s plan with regard to alcohol, there would be far fewer problems in the world. Walker County doesn’t have an NFL team, but it has plenty of people who are smart (and godly) enough to oppose the use of intoxicating drink.


- 2024

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